Ivanov and Shabalov Win Kings Island
By Steve Immitt   
November 15, 2010
GM Alexander Ivanov, Photo Phil Smith from the 2010 Senior Open

Two of many American GMs named Alex, Ivanov and Shabalov scored 4½ points to tie for first in the 5-round Kings Island Open this past weekend.  They each won $1,813, but Ivanov, also the reigning US Senior Champion, won the additional $161 First Place Bonus Prize, thanks to his better tiebreaks.
A last-round "miniature" game between two GMs who are leading the tournament usually brings to mind a quick draw so both can finish in the prize money.  But not always...
Ivanov had the White pieces on Board 2 in round 5 against GM Mark Paragua of the Philippines, who just tied for first at the Marshall Chess Club Championships. Ivanov set about dismantling his opponent's Caro-Kann defense.  


Alex played a sharp pawn sacrifice on move 6, gaining time while chasing Black's queen around.  He proceeded to raise the stakes as White next sacrificed his bishop, twice, first on g5, which Black declined, then on f6 a move later, which was accepted.  The payoff for White came when Black's King had to take a walk over to the Queenside, in a fruitless attempt to hide from White's ubiquitous Knights.  A truly fascinating last-round game!

While all the theatrics were going on, Shabalov and IM Byran Smith had a tough struggle until Shabalov eventually prevailed in the endgame.

In the Midwest Class Championship in Wheeling, Illinois last month, FM Andrew Karklins tied for top Under 2300, while his 95-year-old father, Erik, also tied for 1st in the Expert section.  But Erik didn't come to Kings Island this time.  When his son once again won his last-round game to tie for the Under 2300 prize in Kings Island, he was so ecstatic that he called up dad as soon as he got his prize!

The 19th edition of the Kings Island Open had 298 players this year, plus an additional 9 "re-entries."  The field was notably strong, with 29 Masters, including five GMs and two IMs.

See complete crosstables and prize payouts on the offical website.